Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

Understanding Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

A Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) is a set of blood tests used to measure the body’s metabolism. It helps determine how efficiently organs such as the kidneys, liver, and pancreas are functioning. The BMP gives insight into blood glucose levels, electrolyte and fluid balance, and kidney function. High or low results can indicate underlying medical conditions such as kidney failure, diabetes, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Preparation for Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

Fasting for eight to twelve hours prior to a BMP is necessary for accurate results. A doctor may also require the patient to take additional steps to prepare for the test. For instance, some medications can alter BMP results, and a doctor may ask the patient to stop taking them for a certain period. Smoking, drinking, and strenuous exercise may also influence results, so avoid them before your test. It’s also important to inform your doctor of any medical conditions you have, such as pregnancy or anemia.

Procedure for Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

The BMP is generally performed at a doctor's office, hospital, or lab. The patient will be asked to roll up a sleeve and a tourniquet will be placed around the arm to make the veins prominent and easier to find. The doctor or lab technician will then clean the area with an alcohol pad, insert a needle into a vein, and draw blood. The sample will be sent to a lab for testing.

Types of Tests Included in a Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

A Basic Metabolic Panel typically consists of:

  • Glucose - Glucose levels indicate how well the body is able to metabolize sugar and can help diagnose diabetes.
  • BUN - The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test checks kidney function and protein metabolism.
  • Creatinine - This tests the kidneys' ability to clear creatinine from the blood.
  • Sodium - This test checks the body's levels of electrolytes, which it needs to function properly.
  • Potassium - This test indicates the body's level of electrolytes.
  • Chloride - This test measures the body's level of electrolytes.
  • CO2 - This test measures the body's levels of electrolytes.
  • Risks of Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

    For the most part, drawing blood for a BMP carries few risks. Bruising and slight pain can occur at the puncture site, but these should subside in a few hours. Fainting or feeling lightheaded can also occur, although this is rare. Talk to your doctor about any risks.

    Why, When and How Often Should the Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) be Performed?

    A BMP is typically used to screen for metabolic disorders or diagnose existing medical conditions. It's usually part of a regular health inspection and can help a doctor determine whether further tests are necessary. For healthy individuals, the BMP should be done every year or two, depending on a doctor’s recommendation. For those with existing medical conditions, regular BMPs may be necessary to monitor the condition.